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June 2024
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Take Pride in Your Club

The Toastmaster’s Promise lists a series of promises a new member commits to. Today I’ll mention the fifth one: “To help the club maintain the positive, friendly environment necessary for the membership to learn and grow.” This is perhaps the promise that is most often overlooked and difficult to recognize. To be successful, it requires a team effort and a focus on the basics.  

“Familiarity breeds contempt,” is a popular saying. Many members lose sight of deficiencies that can creep into their clubs over time. Standards that were originally upheld can slip with the passage of time. For example, this year, during my club visits I noticed a lack of variety in the programs presented at many meetings. I have also seen a vast difference in meeting room presentations and in the welcome messaging received by guests.

Variety is “the spice of life,” and having all members engaged is vital to creating a healthy club environment where all members have the opportunity to learn and grow. To fulfill this commitment, every member has to play a part. The club’s officers must ensure that the venue is easily accessible and that it meets the club’s needs. The sergeant at arms must ensure that the meeting room is set up properly with the club banner displayed in a prominent position. The lectern, timing device, gavel and other materials must be organized prior to the meeting.

Program variety is vital to maintaining interest and providing stimulation for members and guests alike. The vice president education must make the program agenda available to each participant and ensure that the agenda offers the oppor­tunity for full participation by all members in attendance.

Membership as a whole must be prepared for club meeting roles and be enthusiastic in the support of their fellow members, thereby creating a positive, vibrant experience for all.

I ask all members to look at their club from the perspective of a guest who ­attends a meeting for the first time. Conduct a “Moments of Truth” module ­regularly to ensure that the club is providing the right atmosphere for all members to learn and grow. Each club is encouraged to have a unique culture without ­com­promising adherence to the basic Toastmasters program.

Excellent clubs provide fun and diversity. They stimulate and challenge their members through participation while at the same time create an atmosphere that encourages members to attend. How does your club shape up? Consider your venue, the meeting room setup and your personal presentation and be sure these are all things that you can be proud of. Remember, it is your responsibility to create a positive and healthy club environment.


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